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These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know

The majority of conceptions of Africa and Africans are entirely false, but some people and media around the globe have portrayed the wrong image and bad description of Africa. These 11 misconceptions about Africa are false.

According to John Henrik Clarke: “The first light of human consciousness and the early civilizations of the world were in Africa.” Many critics, however, disagree with the Pan American African historian, professor, and pioneer on his conception of Africa. The main reasons for their arguments are related to the misconceptions they have about Africa.

Unfortunately, although widely disseminated, these myths and conceptions are entirely false. Sometimes these misconceptions are spread by some of the most educated and prominent people in the world. In 2001 George W. Bush made a blunder by declaring that “Africa is a nation suffering from a terrible disease”, thus reducing the second largest continent – with 54 independent countries – in the world to a single nation.

These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know
Morocco, Africa

Mistakes and generalizations of this kind are commonplace and are made by both the media and people. With so many errors in a publication about Africa, it is often difficult to have a realistic vision of such a beautiful continent.

The following tips below are 11 myths and misconceptions about Africa

1. Africa is a country

George Bush is not the only one to have thought that Africa is a unique nation. Sometimes, people refer to Africa as a country when it is instead an incredibly diverse continent made up of 54 independent nations. Each state has its currency, flag, anthem, history, cuisine, music, identity, and its mix of cultures.

Africa has more than 2,000 languages, and its 1.2 billion people represent more than 3,000 distinct ethnic groups. Africa is also more substantial than most people think, with a total area of 30,244,049 square kilometers. It is the second-largest continent in the world, both in terms of area and population.

2. The countries in Africa are poor

Though poverty is a problem for some African countries, and however, be one of the first striking factors, you notice when you get there. However, not all African countries are poor. South Africa, for example, is a rich country with many valuable natural resources. In the World Bank’s 2016 nominal GDP list, South Africa ranks 33rd position among the 194 countries – above countries such as New Zealand and Singapore.

These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know
African Continent

Yet, the same record, Nigeria has a higher GDP than that of Norway and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, poverty in Africa is not as a result of lack of wealth, but rather to a poor distribution of wealth(corruption).

3. Africans are violent and dangerous

The headlines such as wars, revolutions, pirates, and child soldiers, it is no wonder that many people fear to go to Africa. Of course, because lousy information sells, you don’t often hear about the many good things happening on the continent.

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These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know

Thus, most people do not know about the stable democratic government of Botswana or the reputation of religious tolerance in Senegal. Although crime is present everywhere in Africa, security is a common-sense everyone should understand. Travel warnings speak louder on which states, cities, or borders to be careful or avoid, and which are considered safe. Rural areas are generally much more reliable than urban areas, and this is where you are most likely to spend your time.

4. Africa is the nest of diseases

Diseases take millions of lives each year in Africa due to a lack of access to childhood immunization programs and primary health care. However, successful immunization programs have made great strides in reducing polio and measles over the past decade. The use of prophylactics efficiently combats malaria. Although public hospitals in some African countries are understaffed, ill-equipped, and have low levels of hygiene, proper care can be obtained in Africa. Most private hospitals are on the same level as private hospitals in the rest of the world.

5. All African governments are corrupt

Bribery of politicians is a universal problem, and Africa certainly has more than its share. However, this does not mean that all heads of state are corrupt. Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African post-apartheid president, is often hailed as the embodiment of political morality. In 1993, he received the Nobel Peace Prize, and in 2011, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also became a Nobel Laureate.

All African governments are corrupt
Nelson Mandela

According to the 2015 Transparency International Corruption Index, Botswana was the least corrupt African nation ahead of European nations, which include Spain and Italy. Other African governments regularly received praise for their relative lack of corruption include Rwanda, Seychelles, Namibia, and Cape Verde,

6. Africa is technologically behind

The concept that technological innovation is lacking in Africa is laughable for anyone who has spent time there. Mobile phones are available across the continent, and even residents of rural settlements and shantytowns have phones with cameras and Internet connections. Very recently, Rwanda opened a high-end phone manufacturing company. The smartphone devices that have nothing to envy to other countries about its unique features.

Rwanda set first to produce African-made smartphones
Rwanda set to produce smartphone

In some countries, mobile phones have several innovative uses. Kenya, Nigeria, for example, has set up a very efficient mobile banking system, opening up rural areas to credit in a way that has revolutionized small businesses. Though education and abundant resources are often lacking, innovation is abundant. Mobile money transfers, online health care, and online education solutions are just a few of the technological innovations that have emerged in Africa over the past decade.

7. Africa has no history

Westerners usually make the mistake of thinking that the history of the continent began with the arrival of colonial explorers in sub-Saharan Africa in the 15th century. Yet the ancient pyramids of Egypt, the rock-hewn churches of Ethiopia, and the millennial rock art of Namibia are all examples of a vibrant and eclectic culture that dates back thousands of years.

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Africa has no history
Tunisia

The reign of an ancient city, now known as Great Zimbabwe, testify to the existence of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which ruled at the end of the Iron Age. In the 12th century, when the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were still in their infancy, Timbuktu in Mali already had three flourishing universities and more than 180 Koranic schools.

Africa has no history
Great Pyramid of Egypt

Across southern Africa, the cave paintings created by the San ancestors date back thousands of years. Scientists believe that modern man comes from a single group of African ancestors, so you could say that Africa has the most significant history of all.

8. Africa is always hot

There’re countries in Africa that are completely warm all the year (especially in tropical West Africa), this statement is a vast generalization. Africa is not made up exclusively of savannas and deserts. It also has areas of tropical rainforest, temperate forests, cool coastal peninsulas, and high altitude mountains.

Even at the depths of Sahara Desert, the temperature of winter often read below freezing at night. In South Africa, cold with frequent frosts appear in winter. On the other hand, the snow has been recorded in several African countries, including South Africa, Lesotho, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. In Morocco, the High Atlas mountains have enough snow to feed a ski resort in Oukaïmden,

9. Dangerous animals roam the streets of Africa

The rhinos are grazing only a few kilometers from the center of Nairobi, the largest city in East Africa. In South Africa, there are golf courses that house crocodiles and hyenas still roam the night streets of the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe. However, most of Africa’s wild animals are confined to national parks and reserves.

Dangerous animals roam the streets of Africa
Elephants in National park
Dangerous animals roam the streets of Africa
Penguin in South Africa

You are likely to spot an ostrich or baboon by the roadside in southern Africa. However, the elephant, the giraffe, the lion, and the buffalo no longer move freely. National parks and protected reserves are often larger than in many European countries.

10. Africa needs help to develop

One may wonder what excellent financial aid has brought to African countries. Often, projects are poorly defined, poorly designed, and ignore any contribution from the people they aim to help. Much of the aid, although given in the right spirit, has been somewhat detrimental to Africa’s development.

To begin with, aid money subsidized some very corrupt governments and paralyzed efforts to increase government transparency. It is preferable to conclude real fair trade agreements, which help to promote job stability, a stable economy, and access to credit. Many charities make the difference, but it would be good if they were based in the Africa continent and not in Silicon Valley or New York.

11. All Africans live in huts

There is a common misconception that all Africans live in huts made of mud and manure. Mud huts are indeed one of the most common forms of housing in rural areas of the continent, but that should not be fair if we did not mention growing urban centers across the continent. The silhouette of most African cities is nothing other than skyscrapers of magnificent architecture that have become a source of pride for their country of origin.

These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know
Cape Town, South Africa
These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know
PArkmall Tower, Algeria
These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know
Nairobi, Kenya
These 11 misconceptions about Africa you need to know
Molteno in Cape Town, South Africa

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Nzegwu

Nzegwu I. from Nigeria, I am a content writer and freelancer. A graduate of Anambra State University, with a B.Eng. and other certs in different fields. I love group discussion, travelling and making friends. You can find my contents here. Feel free to mail me. Email: nzegwu@afrinik.com Call: +2349056016522
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